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Packing Petite & Posh: The Ultimate Carry-On Guide

Whether you are going to the South of France or the coast of Italy, your packing style should be as luxurious as your destination.

The most memorable summer trips are often no more than four days, which leaves very little time to ponder outfit combinations. Pack a no-nonsense carry-on with discipline and efficiency, and soon you’ll be moving effortlessly from airport to car to helicopter to hotel room, without skipping a beat. My carry-on expertise blossomed when I jumped straight to Paris Fashion Week after a ski trip in Switzerland, with a helmet and a host of fashion challenges in tow. Whether you are going to the South of France, the coast of Italy, or any island in the Mediterranean, packing doesn’t have to be painful!

Make sure your carry-on fits your belongings and you!

You don’t need to sacrifice style for practicality. There are plenty of plain, reliable carry-on luggage pieces on the market, but why not pick a cute tote that suits you as much as it suits your cargo? Marc Newson and Louis Vuitton, for example, just launched soft luggage add-ons to the “Horizon” collection, complete with fun colors for the global jet-setter. Tumi also boasts a chic, clean “Tres Leger International” carry-on for the sophisticated voyageur. Fellow travelers are also much less likely to confuse your luggage with their own if you have a unique statement piece—so glam it up!

Not all shoes are made for packing into your suitcase.

Shoes can take up a lot of space. To save room, travel in wedges or heels that will dress up your in-flight look and give you a fancier shoe for your trip. To switch it up, put flat sandals that are comfortable and easy to pack into your carry-on. One of my all-time favorite shoe brands is K Jacques, as their day-to-night flats and wedges keep you looking balanced while walking down any cobble stone road.

Not all of our products can hit the road with us!

Liquids are always a challenge, so only pack what is absolutely necessary into travel-size containers. If you are a one-brand-only devotee, most brands offer sample sizes for travel that satisfy the pesky airport regulations. Buy your sunscreen once you arrive at your destination so you can be as liberal as you need with your sunblock application. For makeup, only take what you feel is absolutely essential! My general rule is that flaunting a fresh tan is better than toting a heavy makeup look.

To pack or not to pack… That is the question!

Now it’s time to prepare your wardrobe so your vacation pictures can look magazine-ready. While packing, remember to include low-volume pieces that you can easily fold. To help condense your garments, use Eagle Creek compression cubes to neatly and compactly pack swimwear, undergarments, and other pieces of clothing into your case. That way, you can bring another bikini and at least two swim cover-ups for more spontaneous nighttime swims! For efficient day-to-night wear, BWB has some of the best brands on deck and in our bags. Love Shack Fancy offers versatile dresses that keep you ready for a fun lunch, a stroll on the town, or a casual dinner-drinks combo. Summer dresses from Zimmerman add glamour and elegance to any evening. Ulla Johnson dresses and tops are effortless, boho chic. Remember to plan outfits in advance, and always bring one extra just in case.

Don’t sacrifice the details!

The most important accessory is at least one pair of statement earrings to compliment a glowing, sun-kissed face. An evening clutch that lays flat in your bag is also a great space saver. For the beach and the town, my staple daytime bag is a sequined Vanessa Bruno linen bag that can be flattened in your carry-on without any damage.

Make sure not to completely unplug from the rest of the world just yet!

Communication, safety, and accessibility are vital to any successful trip. Take time to gather your chargers, adapters, and ear pieces into your bag before you leave, so the world is at your fingertips no matter where you go. Scheduling an Uber? Changing your flight? Staying just one more night? Make sure you have the technology and the resources to do so!

Leave space for the memories.

This is a must: Leave space in your carry-on so you can bring back at least two special pieces from the trip. When you wear or look at your travel heirlooms later, they will surely bring a nostalgic smile to your face. I have found some of my favorite garments throughout my many holidays in Capri, Ibiza, and St. Tropez. I always find a local store that carries items indigenous to that specific destination so I can weave good energies from one place to another during my future travels.

Seema Mehta Mehringer

Seema Mehta Mehringer has been active at the nexus of fashion, luxury goods, and travel for more than a decade, first as a partner in a New York-based public relations firm and now as a contributing editor to Vogue India and freelance writer. She grew up between New York and Mumbai and now lives with her husband and five year old twins in Miami.

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